When choosing where to stay, careful planning has to go into this process. I make sure to constantly refresh my Bookings.com and Airbnb webpages in my browser as I get obsessed with finding the perfect place.
Let’s face it, there is no way we aguh lef we good good yaad, fi uncomfortable a road!
Here lies the decision between should I stay at an Airbnb or should I stay at a hotel?
Airbnb came into play in 2008, and has since grown remarkably large. It has disrupted the hospitality market in a big way. With the introduction of cheap flights, along came the introduction of a new accommodation solution that made us feel more like being at home.
“Airbnb has proven that hospitality, generosity and the simple
act of trust between strangers can go a
long way” – Joe Gebbia
I have been afforded the opportunity to experience both, after all, variation is a part of the journey and where we stay plays a great role in our overall experience. There are some situations where it is better to stay at a hotel, as opposed to an Airbnb and vice versa. I will compare both, providing the pros and cons of each, to help make your booking life, an easier one.
- It’s Cheaper!
Spending less on accommodation will allow you to spend more on attractions and exploring, especially if your purpose of travel is to see and do as much as possible. It is very easy to find affordable and comfortable accommodations and there are a wide variety of options. Whether you are looking for a whole house, an apartment, a bungalow, or even a tent! There is something to suit everyone.
My first Airbnb experience, I stayed at “The Grand Central Apartments” It was a perfectly cozy one bedroom Located in Rue des Pierres 2-4 (Streenstraat 2-4) 1000 Brussels, Belgium. Minimally decorated with floor to ceiling windows and all the amenities necessary for a comfortable stay. I was very lucky to score so big on my first shot.
- You experience “like a Local”
Staying in an Airbnb requires you to get up and get out! Most are not Breakfast inclusive and so the “hosts” usually leave great recommendations for nightlife, affordable places to get food, the “must do’s” for where you are staying as well as offer you insights on how to get around via public transportation.
I travel in a group with two of my closest friends. We always opt to get a whole house for space and convenience. And although we often get a kitchen, we still go into the city to get our meals. “Killing two birds with one stone”. We get a much more authentic experience when exploring the city as well as trying the local cuisine.
I owe having the BEST strawberry drizzle and Nutella, sweet waffles (*drools*) in Belgium to my pursuit of trying to find some sunnies to purchase and bucking up on a food spot in a corner while I was at it. To our surprise, what we thought was a little store front of sweet and savory waffles, turned out to be a two storey, antique-looking wooden dining area. Based on that crowd! We knew it was going to be good.
- Peer-to-Peer Exchange
Did you really travel if you never had a conversation with a local? We did not spend all that time brushing up on our Spanish/French/Portuguese etc in Duolingo, to not be afforded the opportunity to say hola! Meeting and greeting with locals is the perfect way to find out the best kept secrets of the city you will be staying in.
Travelling definitely makes you humble. Meeting persons from all over the world, makes us realize just how small of a space we are occupying in the world. Each trip and every encounter has made me feel so much more grateful and respectful of time and the present.
Once in Mexico, my friends and I were by the pool, and we started to have a random conversation with a lady staying in the same area, she was recommending some tequila to us and where we could get if for cheap cheap. We were so appreciative of the gesture, because hello…its cheap liquor! She eventually left us and came back with a tray, cups, samples of Don Julio 70 Tequila, lime and salt. These are the things you fall in love with when you travel, the warmth and hospitality of the people you meet on the way.
- They charge a cleaning Fee
If you’re anything like me, I will have $49.95 worth of things in my amazon cart, and will not click “place order” simply because free shipping starts at $50.00. Any sort of “extra charge” rubs us the wrong way.
- The Place is not what you expected
Imagine arriving at your Airbnb and your host forgot to tell you that she owns cats! Let me tell you this! I hate, detest, and absolutely loathe cats. This happened to me once and I could smell cat fur everywhere and the cat bowls were dispersed in the sitting area. Thank God I was only staying for one night.
If you find that your rental is not to your liking you may contact your host and see if the issue may be resolved. You may also be eligible for a refund based on the circumstance.
- Last Minute Cancellation
A lot of people may not know this, but the host of the rental may do a background check on you. I have heard of instances where the host did a last minute cancellation. A friend of mine was travelling with a family member who had a misdemeanor, the host found about it, and cancelled. Imagine that happening to you when you are already in the country, with no alternative, and no clue as to what is next. You will be left scrambling.
- The Risks
Although I have never had a bad Airbnb experience, I am still careful and do thorough research on where I am staying. I have read about persons not being able to locate the property key, fear for their safety and not receiving what they paid for. So although not a norm, it is definitely possible to be at risk, as with all other things.
I remember arriving at one of our Airbnbs and the host left instructions on how to find the key. The key was hidden DOWN THE STREET! Approximately 50 steps away from the actual building, in a nearby mail box. Did I mention it was late in the night and we were dead tired from the long flight we had. And let me tell you, fear plays on exhaustion.
Choose places with great reviews. If it is a lovely place, with beautiful pictures, amazing amenities and NO REVIEWS…. Don’t be the test dummy!
Hotels are great for short stays. Travelers have more options than ever before. If you prefer the comfort of not venturing far for food, appreciate a fitness room and having your towels changed and your bed made each day, this is definitely it. You just have to ask yourself, is saving money or optimizing comfort your top priority?
My friends and I stayed in the Apple Inn Hotel in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2017. It was a perfect classic triple room for our “too short☹” stay. We checked in 2:00pm on May 3, and by 11:00am on May 4 we were outta there. The reception area was warm and comfortable. Coffee, tea, snacks and the most beautiful lighting fixtures greeted us in the lobby. The staff was very helpful and the room was immaculate. Definitely enough for our one night stay.
Hotels are go-to arrangements if you want privacy. You have your own television, bathroom, work area, room service and housekeeping. You will have whatever privacy and quiet time when you need it.
With everything in one place, hotels are a haven for comfort and convenience.
- Entertainment at no additional cost
Hotels provide entertainment as a part of the overall package whether you want it or not. They provide night shows with local dancers and musicians. They have a variety of sit down restaurants as well as buffets.
- May not be budget friendly
We pay for comfort. It is also to be noted that most hotels in Europe and South America, are not breakfast inclusive, so there will still be a need to go out and look for food, or pay for breakfast at the hotel. This may be between 12.50 euros and 15 euros per person. And trust me guys, it all adds up.
- Limited Cultural Experience
If you end up staying at a “popular” hotel, especially those which are a part of a chain of hotels, you will realize that they are all the same. A Grand Bahia Principe in Jamaica, will look and feel exactly like one that is located in Tulum, Mexico. They are a brand, they keep their décor, food and amenities exactly the same. There will be a feeling of disconnect from the surrounding city as you are physically separated from the native population.
- More Rules
- Most hotels make it hard for you to have visitors on the property, and if even allowed, they will not be able to pass the lobby area.
- Check out times are usually very strict and late check outs carry a cost
With so many options, you’re final decision will come down to your budget, if you are solo travelling or travelling with a group, why you are going and most importantly, where you are going. I have had good and bad experiences at both. The best thing is to do your research and make sure you read all the reviews.
Please let me know about your Airbnb and hotel experiences!
Until Next Time
- Islanders Passport